The Cleveland Abbe Award For Distinguished Service to Atmospheric Science

Nomination Process and Requirements

The procedure for Awards nominations is restricted to electronic submissions, unless stated otherwise. The nominator is responsible for uploading the entire nomination package. Most awards require the following: nomination letter, nominee Curriculum Vitae, bibliography, and three (3) letters of support.  Please see the special procedures (if any) section below for particular award nomination requirements. Please allow sufficient time prior to the deadline to gather all required files.

The Awards Oversight Committee has the responsibility to select and submit to the Council the names of individuals nominated for this award. All nominations should be submitted by 1 May 2015. The nominees for most awards remain on the committee's active list for three years.  Read More


The Cleveland Abbe Award for Distinguished Service to Atmospheric Sciences by an Individual is presented on the basis of activities that have materially contributed to the progress of the atmospheric or related sciences or to the application of the atmospheric or related sciences to general, social, economic, or humanitarian welfare. Nominations are considered by the Awards Oversight Committee, which makes recommendations for final approval by AMS Council.

The Cleveland Abbe Award For Distinguished Service to Atmospheric Science

Cleveland Abbe (1838–1916)

Cleveland Abbe was a pioneering American meteorologist, who was named the first head of the US Weather Bureau upon its establishment by Congress in 1870.  Two of his greatest achievements while head were the inauguration of the use of daily weather forecasts and the initiation of the use of time zones in the United States.  

In order to organize and compile observations and information gathered from far flung weather stations, Abbe required a time-keeping system that was consistent between the stations.  To accomplish this he divided the United States into four standard time zones.  Field data was transmitted using a code designed to minimize word count, and at the designated times, observation information flooded Western Union transmission stations.  Clerks would then decode and record the messages, and manually enter data onto weather maps, which were then used to predict the weather.

Abbe demanded precise language in the forecasts, and made sure every forecast covered four key meteorological elements:  weather (clouds and precipitation), temperature, wind direction, and barometric pressure.  By the end of the first year of reporting, over sixty copies of weather charts went to Congress, the press, and various scientific institutions.

Abbe required that the weather service stay at the forefront of technology.  Over time, the instrument division tested and calibrated thousands of devices, and even began to design and build their own instruments.  By the end of the century, self-registering equipment came into use and the United States led the meteorological world with 114 Class I (automatic recording) observation stations.

In 1872, Cleveland Abbe founded the scientific journal Monthly Weather Review, published since 1974 by the American Meteorological Society.